Bay St. Louis leaders okay funding for grocery store study

By Patrice Clark - bio | email

Bay St. Louis, MS (WLOX) - Good news for Bay St. Louis, the city is looking to open a new grocery store. The mayor and city council have agreed to complete a feasibility study to find the best location for the future store. Since Hurricane Katrina there have been no major chain grocery stores in the city, which has been a big challenge for residents.

"We definitely need a grocery store in Bay St. Louis."

Residents Rachel Ramsey and Jerre Martin say there's really no place to go Bay St. Louis. The two women have to drive to the Waveland Wal Mart, and it's no easy trip.

"It is just not as convenient with gas prices they way they have been in the past," Jerre Martin said. "People don't want move here because we don't have a grocery store."

"They're older people and less fortunate people who don't have a car to drive there all the time," Ramsey said.

It's a problem councilman Jim Thriffiley says the city is working to solve. He says there were more stores open before Katrina devastated Bay St. Louis.

"We actually had one on Second and State Street that was a Jitney Jungle. We also had a Winn Dixie on Main Street, and they all got flooded or they disappeared," Thriffiley said.

Thriffiley says the city plans to use its own funds to find a good site. City leaders will also request money from the Mississippi Development Authority to buy land and build a store. The investors will have the option to lease the store.

"The owners will be responsible for spending quite a bit of money for the inside of the store, for the goods they put in there and the administration and so forth. We will be involved in the land and structure itself."

The idea is already drawing interest from business owners on the coast.

"Derek Necaise and his wife own the Neco's Grocery Store in North Pass Christian, which is a first class store. It maybe the Necaises, or it maybe somebody else, but it's going to be on the table. Hopefully, a lot of people will be interested."

City officials say they have several potential sites where a grocery store could be built in the city. They plan to spend up to $3,500 on this feasibility study.

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